I recently sat down with Brian Malone, VP of Virtual Events at Ragan Communications, to discuss how his work with uStudio has helped to transform this 50-year-old print publisher into a profitable provider of subscription-based digital video training and premium content.
Give us a bit of background on Ragan Communications.
Ragan Communications started off as a print publication company in the late 60s training people in the corporate communications world at major companies on how to be better communicators. Back then in the late 60s it was all print publications and that's what we specialized in right up until the late 1990’s.
What challenges has Ragan faced during the advent of digital publishing?
With print publications you largely have a subscriber base that are paying a subscription fee that contributes to revenue, but as that begins to wane and we go to digital publications, a lot of that material is for free so we had to find a way to get out to our audience again.
Tell me about your foray into video.
About 2011, we asked the question: How can we best educate our online audience? That’s when virtual training was really born. We did 9 webcasts that year, but it wasn’t until uStudio really came into place and we were able to really manage our content in a way that allowed us to come up with new products, come up with new ideas and subscription revenue generating items. Now we're really getting into video and video in a big way. It's almost like we can't move fast enough to keep up with all the exponential growth in this field of video. uStudio has allowed us to package and deliver video in a way that we never were able to before. Last year combined we probably did about 45 live webcasts and 70 webinars, and we're getting into different markets. It continues to grow at such an exponential rate.
What are some of the ways you are using video to drive your business?
We use uStudio, their video management system to manage thousands of videos. We use this for marketing purposes. Whether they’re short promotion videos. We use it for subscription products like our Ragan training in PR University. We also use it for webinars, webcasts, virtually everything we do here that's video based.
What impact have you seen on your team?
It continues to grow at such an exponential rate that my team has gone from really just me to a team of almost 7 at this point.
What impact have you seen on your business?
The business and revenue benefit of being able to deliver video that quickly into that size of an audience has been fantastic and the reception has been great as well. We are seeing revenue where we never saw revenue before. We’re introducing new products almost on a monthly basis. We’re bringing back old publications and thinking about them as, how can we translate that's to video. If we can translate it to video and really get to that customer, then we are potentially opening up a whole new field of revenue that we never even saw before.
What does the future look like for Ragan?
We’re coming up on our 50th anniversary here at Ragan Communications. Now would say we're always an education company, but what we're doing right now that's so exciting is we’re educating through video. I see ourselves going well beyond the 50 year anniversary and into the future by having these forward thinking individuals at the company and having solutions in place like uStudio Live and uStudio video management system. It's all very, very exciting — that we’re able to be that smart and able to push forward.